It all started with a rough cut screening of the film Dream Big, which sparked the idea to not
just show the film but to have a “year of the engineer” with all forms of
programming centering around engineering. Discovery
Place’s Year of the Engineer (YOE) initiative, which spanned the 2017-2018
school year, was launched to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of
engineers and to inspire youth to consider engineering and other STEM careers
to become the problem solvers of the future.
of the Engineer, winner of the GSCA 2018 Achievement Award for Best Educational Program, Discovery Place was committed to partnering with 250 STEM
leaders to provide 2,500 experiences (hands-on programs, interactive
exhibitions, special events and community outreach) to expose 250,000 guests to
the wonders of STEM.
Year of the
Engineer launched on August 24, 2017, with the grand opening of the film Dream
Big: Engineering Our World and a major permanent new exhibit and lab
experience—Think It Up & Thinker Space—encompassing an entire level (5,
000 square feet) of Discovery Place. Over the course of Year of the Engineer, Discovery
Place added fresh content and new inspiring experiences that engaged guests of
all ages and backgrounds.
Being able to
present a whole package of events centered around one theme was powerful to the
funding community. Discovery Place partnered with over 20 corporations,
businesses, and professional groups to support the yearlong effort, during which
the organizations provided financial support, creative intellectual capital,
and their employees to create our yearlong event.
The YOE activities included:
of new permanent 5,000 sq foot Exhibition Think It Up and new Maker Lab Thinker
Space to open and launch with the movie opening of Dream Big.
traveling exhibition da Vinci's
Inventions from Florence Italy
museum activities in 3 labs
main stage shows
design challenges in Think It Up
Saturday of each month “Engineer in Residence” workshops
Saturday of the month “Engineer Take Over Days” where local companies and their
engineers provided industry-specific experiences while showcasing the work
being done in North Carolina
Saturday of the month “Think It up Design Challenge” where families collaborated on large-scale,
unique design challenges.
pop-up engineering and maker programs in underserved communities.
Mini Maker Fair
Carolina Science Festival
Tinkerfest Event Day
& Society Lecture Series
Day Out Events
at the Museum for Scouts
Engineering Challenges for Educators
- Women in STEM event
Measurement of Outcome
Place surpassed its goals:
of 250 engineers, actual 426
of 2500 experiences, actual 2,816
of 250, 000 visitors, actual 268,000 visitors
YOE was a
very successful endeavor that was sustained through the year, and several
programs that were developed for the initiative will be kept and used in yearly
programming moving forward. The
institution’s ability to have a singular message and align the bulk of the
activities around the initiative was powerful and sent a large and clear
message to the community. This initiative also allowed Discovery Place to
engage with a number of companies and professional organizations they had never
partnered with before.
It was also a
great cross-departmental team experience. This initiative had a steering
committee and a work group comprised of the following departments:
Place learned a number of valuable insights throughout the course of the
program that they will consider when planning a similar initiative:
- Be out at least a year in advance or
even possibly 1.5 years, depending on planning and budgeting season for the
with over 20 companies and organizations meant great collaboration, but they underestimated
the time it would take to handle all of the event logistics each week with all
the partners .
- Look a couple of years out for the
synergy of films in progress, exhibitions, and major community needs around
which to build an initiative.
Download a summary of the Discovery Place Year of the Engineer program.
For more information about the program, contact Joanie Philipp, Discovery Place Chief Operating Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.